Episode

5/2 The COVID Crooks Who Screwed Us Over w/ J. David McSwane

May 2, 2022

Sam and Emma host J. David McSwane, reporter at ProPublica, to discuss his recent book Pandemic Inc.: Chasing the Capitalists and Thieves Who Got Rich While We Got Sick, on the fraudulent paths of government money at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. David begins by covering the state of our infrastructure (or lack thereof) at the start of the pandemic, including an incredible 1% of necessary strategic reserves of PPE and other equipment which had been cut down in the wake of Democrats’ sequestration attempts in the 2010s and Donald Trump’s general crippling of anything governmental. Moving into the actual governmental response, David, Emma, and Sam then dive into how the execution of early pandemic policy genuinely made the preparations look effective, as nearly half of the pandemic response budget was swallowed up by corporations who held largely expired goods, setting a government contracting frenzy shoveling cash to any dude on the streets who said they had access to masks. Exploring this, David walks through his experiences on Robert Stewart’s private jets, jumping across the country clearly in search of more excuses for the never-to-materialize masks, before getting into the story of Mike Bowen’s Prestige Ameritech, perhaps the only legitimate source of masks that the US Government explored, and how his deal fell through due to personality differences, and touching on how one Fillakit LLC acquired their contract and shipped pre-expanded soda bottles through FEMA and across the country. Next, David McSwane dives into the role of the Kushner children in expanding this fraud beyond government contracts to the Paycheck Protection Program, diving into the myriad pseudo corporations and fake farms that sprang up to claim millions. Sam and Emma also touch on the Connecticut bill attempting to protect out-of-state abortion seekers, the White House’s ongoing internal battle over whether or not to cancel student debt, and the incredible fraud of the New York Times as Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns continue to trickle out years-old behind-the-scenes drama from Republicans over Build Back Better.

And in the Fun Half: Emma pays a visit to the NLRB’s vote tally for the Amazon labor fight while Sam takes a call from John in New Mexico on MR’s relationship to their mods and covers the Right’s constant ideology that looks for culture war openings, meaning gay people’s right to exist is just as much up for debate in 2022 as it was in 1982. Casey from Washington calls in about beetles, wildfire, and Canadian lumber supply, Charlie Kirk explores the positive impacts of recessions (they fuck over workers and undermine their leverage), and Sam and Emma walk through a harrowing Marist poll in the lead-up to the midterms. Ron DeSantis rips off Trump’s Gold Card, and Ben Shapiro discusses the violent culture war instigation that was Democrats giving Black folks the right to vote. Will Cain finds out some of his Fox co-hosts might not be vaccinated, David from LA explores the CA Governor’s race, and the NLRB Amazon vote trickles in, plus, your calls and IMs!

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